When Nvidia unveiled its Turing structure to the world at Gamescom 2018, there have been two key applied sciences that it promised would set one of the best Nvidia graphics playing cards aside from the pack: ray tracing and deep studying super-sampling, or DLSS.

When the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti launched, neither of those applied sciences had been actually accessible proper out of the gate, making us wait till the discharge of Battlefield V to see ray tracing in an precise sport – and even that was a bit underwhelming. As soon as we lastly noticed the function in titles like Metro Exodus and Management, nonetheless, we had been capable of see why ray tracing actually is the way forward for video games. 

However DLSS was by no means fairly as thrilling in follow as we thought it could be, a minimum of when it first launched. The primary few titles with the function made sport visuals a bit fuzzy with a bunch of aliasing and muddied textures. DLSS has positively come a good distance since then, and Nvidia informed us that the most recent AI community has introduced vital enhancements to the latest DLSS titles. 

So, we determined to try it out ourselves. 

Nvidia's Turing GPUs are just kind of cool

Nvidia’s Turing GPUs are simply type of cool (Picture credit score: Future)

What’s DLSS?

In Nvidia Turing graphics playing cards just like the GeForce RTX 2080 and RTX 2060, there are the Turing GPU cores, of course, but there are two other types of core that were added with this generation: RT and Tensor cores. RT cores are dedicated entirely to ray tracing operations, which means that the computationally expensive technology can be done outside of rasterization – the method by which lighting has been traditionally been rendered for the last couple of decades. 

But, DLSS is all about those Tensor cores. These cores first showed up in Nvidia Volta GPUs, which were targeted at creative professionals and data centers and were focused entirely on AI workloads. While the Tensor cores found in consumer-facing Nvidia Turing cards aren’t nearly as powerful as you’d see on a Tesla V100, they’re still powerful enough to make a difference to average consumers. 

A developer of a game that supports DLSS will upload thousands of images to a neural learning supercomputer on Nvidia’s end. Then, when you play one of these games using a supported graphics card, the GPU will render the games in a lower resolution, then the Tensor cores will reference data compiled by the supercomputer to intelligently upscale the images to look as close to native resolution as possible.

The end result is upscaling that looks a lot better than the checkerboard upscaling found in the PS4 Pro or the Xbox One. The idea, after all, is to boost both visual fidelity and performance without breaking your hardware. A lot of folks, ourselves included, have traditionally set a game to 1800p when it doesn’t quite run well at 4K, and DLSS is potentially the end of those days. 

As a bonus, we were told by Nvidia that this isn’t the full extent of what DLSS could offer in the future. When we were talking with them, we floated the idea that rather than upscaling the image from a lower res to a higher res, it would be nice to see a game that really leaned into the super-sampling, using AI to render at a higher resolution and scaling it back down, similarly to what we saw with Ubersampling in The Witcher 2. 

Nvidia wouldn’t confirm that any game would be coming out that did this, but they didn’t deny that it was possible, so we hope we’ll see DLSS used to create some truly jaw-dropping visuals in the future. 

Metro Exodus supports DLSS and has for more than a year now

Metro Exodus supports DLSS and has for more than a year now (Image credit: Deep Silver)

What games support DLSS though?

Admittedly the lineup of games that actually support this technology is pretty small at the moment – even though it’s grown substantially since it first launched. While by no means an exhaustive list of all the AAA and indie games that have utilized the tech, we went ahead and listed out the biggest DLSS games below. 

  • Anthem
  • Battlefield V
  • Control
  • Deliver Us the Moon
  • Final Fantasy XV
  • Metro Exodus
  • Monster Hunter World
  • Wolfenstein Youngblood

Over the next few months and years, we should see many more major PC games embracing the technology. We already know that upcoming heavy hitters like Cyberpunk 2077 and Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines 2 will be using Nvidia’s RTX technology to some extent – we just don’t know exactly what these games will do quite yet. 

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(Image credit: Infogram; Future)
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(Image credit: Infogram; Future)
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(Image credit: Infogram; Future)
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(Image credit: Infogram; Future)
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(Image credit: Infogram; Future)

Living in the real world

Test system specs

This is the desktop system we used for testing DLSS
CPU:
AMD Ryzen 9 3900X (12-core, up to 4.6GHz)
CPU Cooler: NZXT Kraken M22
RAM: 32GB Corsair Vengeance @ 3,200MHz
GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti
Motherboard: ASRock X570 Phantom Gaming X
SSD: Samsung 860 Evo 1TB x 2, ADATA XPG SX8200 480GB x 1
Power Supply: EVGA SuperNOVA 1000 G+
Case: CoolerMaster H500P Mesh

So, DLSS sounds pretty freaking awesome, right? Well, it totally is – but the effectiveness of the technology kind of varies across titles. We could just leave it at that, but we have access to a bunch of sick computer hardware and a slew of games with DLSS compatibility – so we tested five of the best DLSS games ourselves to see how well the technology works and how far it’s come since it first hit the streets. 

We went ahead and tested DLSS in Control, Monster Hunter World, Metro Exodus, Wolfenstein Youngblood and Deliver us the Moon. Through this selection of titles we were able to see early implementations of the technology through the likes of Monster Hunter World, along with the latest versions in Deliver us the Moon and Wolfenstein.

We tested all of this on our home PC with the specs listed to the right at a resolution of 3,440 x 1,440, and we took a bunch of screenshots (here’s an imgur link so you may see the variations extra clearly) and recorded the typical framerates. 

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Monster Hutner World: DLSS Off

Monster Hutner World: DLSS Off (Picture credit score: Capcom)
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Monster Hutner World: DLSS On

Monster Hutner World: DLSS On (Picture credit score: Capcom)

Monster Hunter World wasn’t the primary sport with DLSS compatibility, but it surely nonetheless represents the roughest iteration out of the bunch that we examined. Efficiency does see an enormous uplift when it is enabled, however you may discover that the picture is much fuzzier and fewer detailed within the DLSS model. 

On PC, this sport does not precisely have one of the best fame in relation to optimization, nonetheless, and when you’re having hassle hitting that golden 60 fps, this selection is perhaps value it for you. The sport feels so significantly better at this body fee, and is the whole cause Monster Hunter: World is so nice on PC.

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Control No DLSS

Management No DLSS (Picture credit score: Treatment)
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Control DLSS with Render Resolution at 1,720 x 720

Management DLSS with Render Decision at 1,720 x 720 (Picture credit score: Treatment)
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Control DLSS with Render Resolution at 2,293 x 960

Management DLSS with Render Decision at 2,293 x 960 (Picture credit score: Treatment)

When Management first launched, it was primarily the poster baby for what Nvidia’s RTX expertise might do. And, whereas it got here out far after Metro Exodus, the DLSS implementation was sadly not fairly pretty much as good. 

On this sport, while you allow DLSS you select between two rendering resolutions, and the decrease one finally ends up making the sport look extraordinarily gentle, even with the most important uplift in efficiency. There’s not a lot of a distinction between the sport rendered at 2,293 x 960 and the native decision of three,440 x 1,440, nonetheless, so we’re getting nearer to a degree the place it is a no brainer to advocate. 

With Management, nonetheless, we would advocate leaving DLSS off when you have the {hardware} to hit 60 fps at your required decision. 

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Metro Exodus No DLSS

Metro Exodus No DLSS (Picture credit score: 4A Video games)
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Metro Exodus DLSS

Metro Exodus DLSS (Picture credit score: 4A Video games)

Metro Exodus is technically the oldest DLSS implementation that we examined for this piece, but it surely’s additionally among the best – it exhibits simply how gifted the group over at 4A Video games actually is. The efficiency uplift is not as large as another titles, however the high quality may be very comparable. 

There are definitely some variations, in fact. Aliasing (jagged edges) within the curtains behind the scene is far worse with DLSS enabled, and there’s much less element, particularly in smaller objects just like the telephone cable on the desk in entrance of us. 

Nonetheless, while you’re making an attempt to sneak round and keep away from getting murdered by a mutant, these small particulars in all probability will not be seen. 

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Deliver us the Moon no DLSS

Ship us the Moon no DLSS (Picture credit score: Wired Productions)
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Deliver us the Moon DLSS in Performance mode

Ship us the Moon DLSS in Efficiency mode (Picture credit score: Wired Productions)
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Deliver us the Moon DLSS in Balanced mode

Ship us the Moon DLSS in Balanced mode (Picture credit score: Wired Productions)
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Deliver us the Moon DLSS in Quality mode

Ship us the Moon DLSS in High quality mode (Picture credit score: Wired Productions)

It is a bit odd that one of the best DLSS implementation is present in an indie sport that is been out for like a yr, however that is what occurred. Initially launched again in October 2019, Ship us the Moon acquired an enormous DLSS and ray tracing patch again at CES 2020, and it actually took the sport to the subsequent degree. 

It additionally marked the primary sport that carried out the expertise in three tiers: Efficiency, Balanced and High quality. And, we are able to inform you first hand that when it is in High quality mode, you won’t be able to inform the distinction between that and the sport working at native decision with out DLSS – past the huge 38% enhance to fps a minimum of.

With such an ideal DLSS implementation, this sport merely appears to be like phenomenal, and completely everybody ought to allow it on this sport if they’ve the choice. 

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Wolfenstein Youngblood No DLSS

Wolfenstein Youngblood No DLSS (Picture credit score: Bethesda Softworks)
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Wolfenstein Youngblood DLSS in Performance mode

Wolfenstein Youngblood DLSS in Efficiency mode (Picture credit score: Bethesda Softworks)
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Wolfenstein Youngblood DLSS in Balanced mode

Wolfenstein Youngblood DLSS in Balanced mode (Picture credit score: Bethesda Softworks)
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Wolfenstein Youngblood DLSS in Quality mode

Wolfenstein Youngblood DLSS in High quality mode (Picture credit score: Bethesda Softworks)

Wolfenstein Youngblood acquired its DLSS replace across the identical time as Ship us the Moon, and is one other nice instance of how far the expertise has come since its inception. 

Aliasing will get dangerous within the Efficiency mode, however that is to be anticipated at this level. What’s superior, although, is that as a result of that is such a quick paced sport the place framerate actually does matter lots, you may get upwards of 100 fps with ray tracing enabled by going with the Balanced DLSS setting at 3,440 x 1,440 (with a 2080 Ti, in fact). 

The place does all that depart us?

It is clear that DLSS has come a good distance during the last yr or so, and it is definitely at some extent the place we right here at TechRadar shall be enabling it when gaming in our downtime. Nevertheless, is it sufficient to promote potential prospects on an Nvidia GeForce RTX graphics card on it is personal?

The reply is not any, however that does not imply the tech is not superior and cannot be a half of why you purchase a brand new RTX graphics card. The tech nonetheless is not in sufficient video games for us to say it is completely important for PC players to leap on to, however when you’re into ray tracing and 4K gaming, it does genuinely make issues higher. 

Coupled with hardware-accelerated ray tracing, DLSS supplies one thing that AMD graphics playing cards simply do not proper now. And contemplating that AMD has but to launch a graphics card that may actually tackle the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Tremendous or RTX 2080 Ti, when you’re available on the market for a excessive finish GPU proper now, Nvidia looks as if the straightforward selection.

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